Some of us spend a lifetime chasing after the next career move that will land us one step closer to our “dream job.” We set goals and strive for excellence, but even with diligent effort, few of us will ever be regarded as the best.
But for Jill Wilson, Principal of Allendale Elementary School, she has achieved just that. This November, Mrs. Wilson received news from MEMSPA (Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principal’s Association) that she had been named Elementary Principal of the Year!
Each year, MEMSPA selects one principal from each of its twelve regions for this recognition, with the board of directors and regional representatives making the final selections from a pool of nominations. Mrs. Wilson was nominated by Allendale Public Schools, as well as by several staff members individually, for being compassionate, caring, acting as a mentor and setting high expectations, among numerous others. Yet Mrs. Wilson knew nothing of these nominations until one day in November.
Mrs. Wilson recalls running into Tom DeGraaf, MEMSPA’s Region 12 Director, at a principal’s meeting in Ottawa County last month. Tom wasted no time in prompting her to attend the conference where the awards would be handed out. She remembers bursting into laughter at the thought, feeling that the talent and dedication of the other principals was so honorable that she would never be singled out among such a crowd. Yet Tom’s encouragement was the push she needed to reserve her spot at the annual MEMSPA conference at Traverse City’s Grand Traverse Resort.
Of course that decision proved to be a game changer because at the conference, Mrs. Wilson was awarded Region 12 Michigan Elementary School Principal of the Year! When hearing her name, Mrs. Wilson said she felt a “shot of adrenaline to continue to do as much as I can to impact staff, students and parents in a positive way!”
Reflecting on the evening and the weeks since, she tells us:
“I am very humbled by this honor. I know that there are many other professionals in the field of education that are passionate about what they are doing and why they are doing it and are far more deserving than I may be. I have spent 30 years in public education (29 at APS) and I can’t think of a place I’d rather be. I hope that this award brings awareness of the need for continued support for our teachers, students, support staff and school community as a whole. Allendale Public School District is a place to highlight. An award such as this could not be possible without the love and support of my husband, three daughters and extended family. They have been there to help whenever they could! I was thrilled to have my husband be able to join me at the event!”
Our sincere congratulations to Mrs. Wilson for this tremendous honor! We’re blessed to have you serving students in Allendale!